Now there are just two: Kevin Crye and Erin Resner.
We’re talking candidates vying for the District 1 Shasta County Supervisor seat, a position up for grabs in the June 7 election because Joe Chimenti, current Dist. 1 Supervisor, opted out of running for re-election.
Initially, there was no sign of trouble at the Thursday-evening candidates forum held at the Shasta County Library. Nearly every chair inside the library’s community meeting room was occupied. Dist. 1 supervisor candidates Crye, Resner and Vollmers sat at a table ready to answer questions asked by representatives of the League of Women Voters.
The Thursday forum was the LWV’s third forum this week. At least one more is scheduled for next week; the Shasta County Sheriff/Coroner race, held at 6:45 at the Shasta County Library’s Community Room.
The LWV organizers followed the same format Thursday as their Tuesday and Wednesday candidate forums for the Shasta County Superintendent of Schools, and the Shasta County Clerk/Registrar of Voters, respectively.
The forums were live-streamed by Mike Flanagan of the Shasta County Arts Council.
The outline for all the LWV’s non-partisan forums is simple: League of Women Voters representatives ask the candidates questions submitted by their members, as well as from the public. The moderator selects the questions and reads them aloud to the candidates, who then take turns responding. But before the questions, each candidate is invited to deliver a 3-minute opening statement about themselves. Likewise, at the end of the forum each candidate is invited to wrap up the night with some final thoughts.
This following point will come in handy later, but as an inclusive, non-partisan organization, the League of Women Voters doesn’t open their forums with prayers or flag salutes or the Pledge of Allegiance or anything else. That’s been their way for many, many years; as long as even the most elderly members can recall.
Sounds simple enough? Anywhere else, yes. Here in Shasta County, don’t bet on it.
Kymberly Vollmers was the first candidate to present her opening statement at Thursday’s forum. Little did anyone suspect, Vollmers’ opening statement would be the last time she spoke as a candidate in this race. At the conclusion of her speech, there was stunned silence, except for a single hand clap that stopped abruptly. Even Jeannette Logue, the LWV moderator, was so caught off guard that she appeared momentarily baffled as Vollmers completed her statement, left the candidate table and took a seat at the back of the room with the rest of the audience, which by then had erupted in spontaneous, forbidden applause.
Just like that, Vollmers had pulled out of the race. Her opening statement/explanation is below.
Vollmers’ first and last words:
“Running for Shasta County District 1 has been one of the greatest opportunities I’ve had to serve my community. I’ve learned through this process what it means to be a leader. It means doing what is best for the people. When you are supported and voted for, it is the faith that you are going to do what is right. I came into this race with so many unknowns, but a clear goal to make Shasta County better for all of us.
Unfortunately, one of these unknowns was how immensely expensive it is to get your message out, like you mentioned. I did not have the pleasure that my opponents did to raise tens of thousands of dollars to bring my voice to a wide audience. So now I am left in a position that has me to reflect on what is best for the community and to my supporters.
So many of you have given your faith in me, and it is the thing that I take into consideration as I move forward with my decision. I would like to express my most sincere congratulations to Mr. Crye and Councilwoman Resner for their ability to run campaigns with such success. As I look at both candidates, I realize that my decision that I have is crucial to the progress of Shasta County and that is my one and only desire.
Erin, I’ve been inspired by your commitment to serve others. Your experience in government will be crucial to the success of Shasta County. I have witnessed what you’ve done for the city of Redding, and no resident can deny what you have done to make our city a better place, and a place of progress, a place we all can be proud of.
Because of this I hope you will accept my endorsement for this race.
Though I can’t remove my name from the ballot. I feel confident that you will serve the people that support me the same way that I would be committed, and that I intended to. I ask that you vote for Erin Resner for Shasta County Supervisor in District 1. Thank you all for being here and I hope that I have the pleasure to serve you in the future.
With that, the forum recalibrated and got back on the road with the two remaining candidates. Resner stood up and attempted to stick to her prepared statement, but then stopped to say she wanted to talk about what had just happened.
Resner’s eyes filled with tears as she spoke of Vollmers’ departure from the race, and how Resner felt about Vollmer’s words.
“I would just like to pivot during my timeframe and say, thanks, that was really kind,” Resner said, looking over the crowd to a back table where Vollmers sat.
“In an election season that has not been kind, and has been full of mistruths, I just really appreciate the kindness from another candidate. I think that’s the only thing that I can say at the moment; that that was really kind. And thank you for your words.”
With her remaining time Resner told the audience about her proven experience as a Redding City Council member and former mayor, as well as a co-owner of the family’s eight Dutch Bros businesses that employ 250 employees.
Next was Crye’s turn. But instead of presenting his opening statement about himself as a candidate, and/or why voters should choose him, he launched into a passionate speech that borrowed a page from fellow patriot candidate Bryan Caples‘ book by veering sharply off course, away from the LWV’s format, and head-on into yet another manipulated Pledge of Allegiance with clear implications: Patriots stand and say the pledge; unAmerican Godless people don’t.
State of Jefferson devotee Terry Rapoza just happened to have brought along his own American flag, since the LWV had removed the room’s flag after Caples’ Tuesday-night Old Glory grandstanding tantrum.
Crye, who paced constantly while he spoke — sometimes nearly out of the camera frame — thanked the league. He looked toward the moderator and confirmed that he had called her earlier in the day, and said that the previous week’s forums had flag salutes … (uh, duh, only because the men forced it).
He described himself as someone who tries to be a “rule-follower” and someone who makes sure nobody ever feels marginalized. (Huh?) Crye said he’d asked Logue if a flag salute would be part of the forum format, to which Logue had replied no, and had told Crye, “We don’t do that.”
Crye explained how, before the evening’s forum, he’d asked Resner and Vollmers if they’d be willing to each give up 30 seconds to begin the meeting with a flag salute. Crye said that both women said that if a flag salute wasn’t something initiated by the League of Women Voters at forums, then Resner and Vollmers respected the League of Women Voters’ traditions. Although Crye claimed to respect Resner and Vollmers’ responses, he got on a soap box filled with trite patriotic phrases and delivered his speech about the importance of the flag salute. He threw Resner and Vollmers under the bus, and implied that they were not as patriotic as Crye.
“But the thing is, I see it like this,” Crye said. “I’m not running anymore for Kevin Crye or District 1. I’m really running for my principles and what I believe. The reason we have this nation, and the reason we have the opportunity is because people have fought, bled and died for this country. And I would feel like a sellout. And I gave my opponents the opportunity to say it with me, let’s be united, let’s go out there and do it. They chose not to.”
Crye told the audience that they didn’t have to stand, but if they would like to stand and say the Pledge of Allegiance with him, to please rise and join him.
“We have a flag right here, and I will lead those who want to, in the flag salute.”
And that’s what he did.
Crye thanked Rapoza for bringing the flag, and began the pledge, along with a clear majority of the audience, including Resner.
In the audience, a woman who’d chosen to remain seated said to Rapoza, “Are you saying I’m not a patriot?”
Following the pledge, moderator Logue clarified the LWV’s position on the Pledge of Allegiance, which is that the organization doesn’t do it. Logue said she did appreciate Crye giving her a call earlier in the day to give her a heads up about his plan to lead the audience in the pledge.
“I told him that if he or any of the candidates want the flag salute, it will be charged against their opening statement,” Logue said. “I had no problem with that whatsoever. And so I just want to make it perfectly clear. We do assume the patriotism of everyone who’s here, because you are interested citizens. You are interested people who are here because you care about your vote.”
Finally, the forum
With Vollmers gone, the forum’s questions and answers happened in a fairly quick volley. (Watch the entire forum here.) Resner spoke in support of the multi-services “wagon-wheel” jail/treatment facility pitched by Sheriff Johnson and County CEO Matt Pontes, while Crye said he wanted jail beds ASAP. Resner shared her belief in public/private collaborations. A few times the moderator asked Crye to please wait until she’d finished asking the question before he replied. At one point, while the moderator was speaking, he reached out his hands in a gimme-gimme motion for Logue to hand over the microphone.
A pattern of so-called patriots
Crye’s flag-salute scene was only a slight variation of Caples’ similar performance during Tuesday’s Shasta County Superintendent of Schools candidate forum between Caples and incumbent superintendent Judy Flores.
Tuesday, Caples blatantly ignored the moderator’s request to please sit rather than stand. This was followed by Caples’ great grandstanding moment when he took over the meeting and insisted the audience rise and recite the Pledge of Allegiance, all while the moderator insisted that was not part of how LWV forums work. (Go to about the 14:25 moment in the video to see for yourself.)
Caples later capitalized upon his moments of rudeness by posting a false statement on social media that accused Flores of being unpatriotic.
Caples, who is renowned as a truth-bender and major misinformation-disseminator, knowingly accused Flores of not standing for his ordered pledge.
Screengrabs show otherwise.
The so-called patriots’ pattern
Caples and Crye weren’t the only candidates who made a fuss over the American flag during the LWV forums with patriotic posturing.
Bob Holsinger, who’s challenging Cathy Darling Allen for her long-held County Clerk/Registrar of Voters position, took a different tact during their forum. (Look to about the 13:08 minute mark on the video for the flag scene.) He took the microphone and asked the audience to join in saluting the flag and reciting the Pledge of Allegiance.
Again, as was the case with Resner and Flores, Darling Allen complied, joined the audience majority, stood, and recited the pledge.
Of the week’s three forums held at the library, hosted by the LWV, a common theme with both Crye and Caples was an air of rudeness and disrespect for the LWV’s rules and traditions.
As an aside, some of the men’s answers were so similar it suggested they’d practiced together. For example, during Caples’ forum he delivered this bizarre rambling statement first about Native American children, followed by a mention, apropos of nothing, about how that’s why men don’t want their wives to go to the store at night because they might be raped or hurt.
Then, Thursday, Crye talked about crime being so bad here that wives couldn’t feel safe going to the store at 10 p.m. for milk.
What is it with these guys about the dangers of wives and night-time shopping? But I digress …
Back to Holsinger. Although his countenance is more easy-going and measured, the fact remains he pulled the same flag stunt as Crye and Caples: he ignored the wishes of the LWV.
The flag issue aside, Holsinger’s biggest deficit is the fact that he’s woefully ill-equipped to be the County Clerk/Registrar of Voters. Having Holsinger in that position would be like allowing someone who’d watched all the Doogie Howser episodes to take a crack at performing an emergency appendectomy. Now that I think about it, the same can be said of Crye’s desire to be a county supervisor. He lacks the temperament, stability and self-control, as was evidenced at a recent board of supervisors meeting where, before he made his public comment, he turned to a previous speaker, a prosecutor for the District Attorney’s office. He mocked her for saying that she’d taken the day off from work to attend the meeting.
“Well la-dee frickin’ dah,” Crye said.
Of course, Caples, who’s got a nasty paper trail about him that could reach from Burnt Ranch to Redding, would be an unmitigated human dumpster fire for our county schools system.
Back to Holsinger (last time, promise). During the Wednesday forum he came across as a basically nice guy who’s running for an office about which he possesses barely a thimble’s worth of knowledge. The reality is that what’s actually necessary to effectively lead that office is a California king-sized quilt of know-how, facts, connections and experience. There were several times during the forum when Holsinger deferred to Darling-Allen for answers to questions, or when Darling-Allen gently corrected statements of misinformation uttered by Holsinger. He did speak confidently about his dislike of the Dominion machines, mainly because lots of people don’t like them. He failed to provide a single solid reason or piece of evidence why Shasta County should banish the machines, other than his dislike of the name “Dominion”.
The main thing that Caples, Holsinger and Crye have in common is that they’re part of the alt-right block of candidates favored by the Red, White and Blueprint crowd. They are joined by such other RWB favorites as Chris Kelstrom. You may recall the recent drama that happened at the forum hosted by the Shasta Republican Central Committee. Before the evening was over, Dist. 5 candidate Kelstrom walked out after giving a speech that blasted the local GOP group that had invited Kelstrom and his fellow Dist. 5 candidates, as well as Dist. 1 candidates.
This week’s flag issue? It’s absurd. Riddle me this: do Terry Rapoza, Crye, Caples and Holsinger carry flags everywhere they go, so they can salute the flag at the doctor’s office, the hardware store, the DMV, the carwash or Costco? When or where does a gathering require people recite the Pledge of Allegiance? Who decides?
Let’s face it: These men’s rude, bullying insistence on saluting the flag isn’t about a love of flag and country. It’s about the need to control, an excuse to thumb their noses at the rules, be openly disrespectful and act like ignorant feral children. It’s reminiscent of when the LWV held a pre-recall election forum at the Pilgrim Congregational Church, a place where people were asked to wear a mask before entering.
But the night of the forum, Kelstrom, Tim Garman and Dale Ball whined like babies and complained to the LWV organizers outside the church in the cold that they didn’t want to wear a mask. They eventually entered the church with masks, then quickly removed them once inside.
It’s noteworthy that the ultra-conservative guys who cause a ruckus during forums have only done so at forums run by women, such as the two GOP forums, and the four League of Women Voters forums. (I’m counting the pre-recall one.)
The pair of forums hosted by the Redding Chamber of Commerce at the Sheraton, moderated by its CEO Jake Mangas, went as smoothly as can be. It’s interesting that when a man’s in charge of the forums, the patriot bullies behave themselves, but when it’s women running the show, they act out and make a scene.
The women in charge have tried to smooth things over. They seem so intent that they not make a scene, or that, God forbid, the forum ends in chaos, that they don’t challenge the men’s bad behavior, or call out the misbehavers. This is a grave mistake. With every forum where these guys take over meetings without any confrontation or consequences, it only emboldens them to push the envelope even further. And they have.
Look no further than the Shasta County Board of Supervisors, where Dist. 3 Supervisor Mary Rickert has been openly disrespected and mistreated on the dais by Dist. 4 Supervisor Patrick Jones and Dist. 5 Supervisor Les Baugh.
Their snide comments, verbal jabs and jeers are often done with a laugh or a grin, in a gas-lit kind of way that may make the abuse go unnoticed by the casual observer; someone who’s not attended or monitored every single BOS meeting for two years.
I’ve seen firsthand how Rickert has been singled out and emotionally tormented by these two thugs. She’s been ignored when trying to speak. She’s been interrupted and dismissed outright. Lord only knows how much worse she’s treated by them during closed sessions, when Baugh and Jones can rest assured that all their conversations are protected.
I am loathe to pull the gender card, but clearly, these bullies reserve their worst behavior for women.
Here’s one more thing: Dr. Karen Ramstrom joins Rickert as the recipient of some nasty, ugly horrific threats. I doubt a Dr. Ken Ramstrom would have been treated with the amount of vitriol hurled at Ramstrom.
Rickert and Ramstrom might have grounds for sexual harassment/hostile-work-environment claims.
Winner, winner, women winners!
Speaking of women, to take my mind off the gang of uncouth candidates, I’ll focus on the act of supreme class demonstrated during Thursday’s forum by Kymberly Vollmers. She set aside her ego and quit her Dist. 1 campaign for the sake of Shasta County. This development is a game-changer, not just for the District 1 race, but possibly for Shasta County’s future as it would put a strong, experienced woman on the board. Also, Vollmer’s actions make a November run-off less likely, which boosts Resner’s odds of winning Dist. 1.
This isn’t lost on Resner, of course. After the forum, Resner said she was “deeply humbled and grateful” for Vollmer’s endorsement.
“I have appreciated and respected her as a fellow candidate, mom, and champion of Shasta County throughout this process,” Resner said. “I am hopeful that she will remain engaged as a leader in our community.”
I hope so, too. Absent more brave, ethical, fair, civilized, strong, intelligent candidates, we’re stuck with a growing collection of candidates who act as if rules do not apply to them; men – and yes, so far the worst offenders are men — who don’t care who they hurt or what’s destroyed on their quest to “take back” Shasta County. They lack common civility, good judgment and good manners. Rather than being gracious as invited candidates, and rather than expressing gratitude for the forum hosts, they act like ungrateful jerks.
Can you imagine if they brought those kinds of misbehaviors to elected county positions? Oh, wait. We can imagine. After all, there are three current members of the Shasta County Board of Supervisors who serve no other purpose than as walking, talking cautionary candidate tales.
At this point, voters are the only solution to prevent further destruction to Shasta County. It’s up to us. Voters voted these losers in. Voters can get them out.
Editor’s note: This post was revised for clarity at 9:20 a.m. on May 6, 2022.
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